Thursday October 10, 2013

How Marketing Surveys Could Inform Your Strategy

Survey Box

It goes without saying that businesses need to have a finger on the pulse of their target market in order to succeed. If you don’t know your customers’ psychographics and how they make buying decisions, you’ll have a tough time getting off the ground – not to mention adapting to changes.

Big businesses pay big money to generate market research and hire specialists to analyze and synthesize the data. Ideally, this research gives the business not only a more concrete look at threats and opportunities at any given time, but also a good idea of what those threats and opportunities might look like tomorrow.

If you’re at a smaller and medium-sized business, market research is no less crucial to your success – though you’re probably not sitting on big budgets set aside for formal market research. Fortunately, as many businesses have discovered, using surveys can be a very cost-efficient way to gain broader insight into your market.

Insights to be Gained from Marketing Surveys

To help spark some ideas, here are five different ways surveys might inform your marketing strategy:

  1. Determine brand equity. What percentage of people in your market are aware of your brand? What qualities do they associate with it and how loyal are they to it? Having survey data that sheds light on these questions will help determine where your marketing should be focused – whether it’s increasing brand visibility, overcoming negative brand connotations, clarifying scope of services etc.
  2. Clarify your market. You might have a general sense of who makes up your market and how they make decisions, but a survey can identify customers and non-customers in further detail. Why are/aren’t they giving you their business? What attitudes and expectations do they have in regards to your products or services? This level of market clarification can provide invaluable direction for your messaging and channel choices.
  3. Assess customer service. For a high percentage of small B2C businesses, customer service is a defining strength for their brand. Including a voluntary customer service survey after a transaction is a common way to gauge how strong the service actually is in the eye of the customer. Focus questions on the actual service received, the process involved and all relevant participants. The results could generate some important discoveries – especially if customer service is a cornerstone of your brand.
  4. Assess demand for a new product or service. Before rolling out a new product or introducing a new service line, consider using a survey to get a sense of how it will be received and what changes might be in order before it’s ready for primetime. Is there strong enough demand? Are there things about your product or service concept that people especially like or dislike? Not every business decision should live or die by survey results, but these opinions can provide important guidance and shouldn’t be ignored.
  5. Assess marketing effectiveness. Marketing channels come with their own measures of success – impressions, clicks, phone calls, CPL and so on. Many of these metrics are more useful for assessing lead generation campaigns and less so for brand awareness campaigns. For businesses engaged in these broader, long term mass media campaigns, surveys are often relied on to get a sense of penetration achieved and the effectiveness of the campaign in moving the audience toward the desired goal. Did your market see the ad? What affect did the ad have?

These are just a handful of the ways marketing surveys can help inform and guide a business’ strategy for growth. Small businesses have a number of free-to-inexpensive and easy-to-use survey platforms like SurveyMonkey that help users to generate questions, collect survey data and organize results.

Have you used surveys to improve your marketing? What insights did you gain? Let us know in the comments.

Charlie Nadler
Simple Machines Marketing

Written by Charlie Nadler | Tags: marketing surveys

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